Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Gnomic Verses
There souls of men are bought and sold
THERE 1 souls of men are bought and sold,
And milk-fed Infancy for gold;
And Youth to slaughter-houses led,
And Beauty, for a bit of bread.
Note 1. VIII Written immediately below the first stanza of the preceding piece, and directly opposite to the first draft of stanza i of ‘The Chimney Sweeper’. As the latter comes below the lines ‘Deceit to secrecy confin’d’, it is not unlikely that Blake here too wrote consecutive stanzas on blank spaces of opposite pages, and hence that this quatrain was originally intended to form part of ‘The Chimney Sweeper’. See Songs of Experience. 2 And cradled Infancy is sold MS. 1st rdg. del. 4 Beauty] Maidens MS. 1st rdg. del. [back]

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